Daniel Plainview

Daniel Plainview is a pseudonym, but in the near past he was a law school applicant just like you. He scored a 178 on the LSAT and cites the PowerScore LSAT Bibles as his main resource when he was preparing for the test. He previously operated his own website for law school applicants, and he has graciously agreed to write a series of data-focused articles for PowerScore readers.

Recent Posts

What is Yield Protection in Law School Admissions?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

In the world of law school admissions, the U.S. News and World Report’s (USNWR) annual law school rankings are always looming, in one way or another, in the background.

For better or worse, the USNWR rankings are the most widely cited, and for many are considered the gospel truth when it comes to law school rankings. They receive heavy criticism along a number of lines. Many criticize them for placing insufficient emphasis on employment outcomes, and too much emphasis on things like library resources and expenditures per student, which favor schools with a lot to spend. Another common complaint is that the rankings are self-reinforcing. 

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Do Non-Traditional Law School Applicants Have an Admissions Advantage?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

Anyone who has been following my posts on the PowerScore blog knows that I’m pretty interested in using data to get insights into not only what factors might affect law school admissions decisions, but also to what degree those factors have an impact, as well as the differences in the ways different facets of an application package do (or do not!) affect admissions decisions at different law schools.

So far, I have explored whether the timing of the application makes a difference, the benefits (or lack thereof) of binding early decision options, which schools are relatively more welcoming of splitter and reverse-splitter candidates, and how an applicant’s ability to claim underrepresented minority status may affect outcomes. In this post we’ll dive into the data to try to get an idea of whether – and how – nontraditional students (or, in common shorthand, NonTrads) fare any differently in law school admissions outcomes.

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Do Underrepresented Minority (URM) Applicants Have a Law School Admissions Advantage?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on


Law school admissions decisions are often thought to be very formulaic, with an applicant’s LSAT and GPA numbers being the only important elements in that formula.

While it’s really beyond dispute that applicants’ numbers play a huge part (and almost certainly the most important part) in most law school admissions decisions, that’s not to say that they are the only factors that matter. There are indisputably other key factors, including minority status. But how big a role does such a factor play?

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Are There "Reverse-Splitter Friendly" Law Schools?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

Recently. we published a post on the topic of which law schools are “splitter-friendly,” which seemed to generate a lot of interest. For the uninitiated, a “splitter-friendly” school is one that could be said to take a relatively more forgiving look at an applicant’s grade point average (GPA) as long as that applicant has a high LSAT score. One of the obvious follow-up questions for a post like that is, “Well, what about the reverse situation? Are there schools that are more forgiving of lower LSAT scores for applicants who have stellar GPAs?”

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Which Law Schools Are Splitter-friendly? And Which Aren't?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

When you discuss law school applications, the question of which schools are "splitter friendly" comes up pretty often, and it's not really an easy question to answer. Are we looking for schools to which a high percentage of splitters are admitted relative to non-splitter applicants? Schools that seem to value an applicant’s LSAT score much more than his/her GPA? How about schools that are willing to go really low on the GPA scale to nab those high LSAT scores?

There is actually a lot of overlap between those questions, but they're not all the same thing. There is a ton of anecdotal evidence out there, but the point of this blog is to try to get to the bottom of what the numbers themselves can tell us. With the "splitter friendly" question, it's not all that easy.

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Does submitting an early law school application improve your chances?

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

Applying Early

When I was getting ready to apply to law school a few years ago, I remember very clearly checking on the dates that applications opened at each of the schools I was interested in, and anxiously waiting for those dates to arrive.  I figured that if I applied early on in the process, I was giving myself the best possible shot at being accepted.  After all, everywhere I looked on line the message was the same: apply as early as you can, apply today!  Actually, apply yesterday, because if you don’t, then all hope is surely lost.

To be honest, having your applications ready to go on day one is not the worst idea in the world, for reasons wholly unrelated to whether or not it improves your chances of admission.  First, I’m generally just a proponent of getting things done early rather than later, because who knows what might happen a week from now that will prevent you from getting that application finished?  If you have the time now, why not use it?  Second, it’s a great way to spend that anxiety-ridden period between taking the LSAT and getting the results.  I know for me, it helped keep my mind occupied on something other than a score I no longer had any control over.  But, does applying early actually have any effect on whether or not you’re admitted to a given law school? 

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions

Applying to Law School: To Early Decision or Not to Early Decision

Posted by Daniel Plainview on

Being a law school applicant is a tougher job than most people probably think.  The first and most obvious obstacle to overcome is the LSAT, which is a real (though very slayable) beast.  Once armed with an LSAT score, however, a whole new set of stressors emerge, as a future law student starts the law school application process.  Part of this process necessarily involves winnowing down the 200+ schools into a realistic and manageable list of those that she would like to attend and to which she has a reasonable shot at admission.  Often, part of an applicant’s calculation is whether to apply through a school’s early binding decision (ED) process. But, are some schools more ED friendly than others? It appears so.

Read More

Topics: Law School Admissions